February 5, 2024

Against the «common sense» of anti-rights groups (Part 1)

It is very common in anti-rights discourse to appeal to arguments whose authority lies, according to them, in “reality itself.” Thus, religious groups, trans-exclusionary radical feminists, libertarian conservatives, alternative right-wingers, liberals of dubious neutrality, and even orthodox leftists, invoke the apparently innocuous and incontestable mantle of common sense.

By guest writer Amilka González

Every time these groups obtain what they consider a small victory against the LGBTIQ population —that is, a setback in terms of human rights— and especially against the trans population, they cheer: Common sense has won! This is what happened recently in Spain with the reduction of LGBTI laws by the Government of the Community of Madrid —for a detailed approach to this situation, we recommend reading here , here and there .

Throughout the international arena where anti-rights groups strive to impose anti-rights rhetoric, the same script is repeated. The central point of their arguments is that common sense must necessarily be the guideline to follow when it comes to settling social disputes around sex and gender. And, according to them, their only interest here is to defend common sense and truth.

In this article we will try to answer several questions: What do these groups mean by common sense? In what ways can this elusive concept be understood in the context of science? What advantages or disadvantages would using common sense give us to resolve important differences in our societies? 

Let's see.

What is common sense? 

«Common sense is, as its name indicates, the unanimous feeling of the entire human race (...) of all times and all places, wise or ignorant, barbarian or civilized.» 

Amadeo Jacques. «Memory about common sense»

First of all, this is not a simple question and answering it in a non-superficial way is challenging. From a historical point of view, to get an idea of the magnitude of the issue, it is enough to know that common sense has been attempted to be defined many times since ancient times —and maybe, since very distant galaxies. 

January 4, 2024

Gender variation, normalcy, "autogynephilia" and the culture war

I was talking to the transgender blogger Joanna Santos on WhatsApp the other day and we made some observations regarding generational shifts regarding the role of transphobic theories like "autogymephilia" in the lives of trans and gender variant people.

If we allow ourselves to generalize a bit we may say that the older generations (boomers and those 50+) have had to face several challenges:

  1. The oppression and shaming that is associated with such theories, when used in politics and public spaces.
  2. The way these theories can be used by family and friends.
  3. The way these narratives easily become internalized, leading to shame, suppression of transgender dreams, fear, anger and depression.

The younger generation, and especially Gen Z and the Millenials, more often face only one of these three:

  1. The oppression and shaming that is associated with such theories, when used in politics and public spaces.

The right wing and TERF backlash against transgender rights makes this remaining bullet-point painfully visible right now, but as Joanna pointed out to me, young people today get their gender affirmed by those who matter: Friends and family. 

A new culture for the young

Younger cis people may not fully understand what being trans means, but are more likely to have grown up in a cultural setting where you respect and accept the identities of others, and where marginalized groups are to be included and not ostracized.

September 22, 2023

Anti-LGBTIQ literature in the Spanish language

There is a serious lack of online resources on anti-LGBTQ activism in the Spanish language. Queer and transgender people need to know who these people are, their way of thinking and their tactics if they want to stop them from doing more harm. 

The first post of our new Spanish language blog, Mundo LGBTIQ,  is therefore on "Anti-LGBTIQ literature written in Spanish". 

Here follows an English language translation of that post. The original can be found here.

By Amilka González

The Spanish language is the second most spoken language in the world by natives, with almost 500 million speakers.In recent years many Spanish-speaking groups have become increasingly committed to the dissemination of discourses that question the human rights of the LGBTIQ population, which raises the need to map both groups and discourses. This would be the starting point for analyzing transnational relations and alliances between Spanish-speaking anti-rights groups and Spanish speaking anti-rights group.

It can be said that dedicating the first article of our new Spanish language blog to anti-LGBTIQ rights literature is giving undeserved publicity to ideas that are harmful to society. However, if we want to understand how these ideas work and why they are shared by many people, we believe it is necessary to map these discourses.

This is not a novel idea. It is a strategy known to anti-racist organizations that for decades have monitored hate speech related to racial segregation and other types of discrimination. An example of this is the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in the US, which has been dedicated to this work, in addition to being known for its legal battles against supremacist groups.

August 2, 2023

Twitter has fallen. What's next for transgender debate and news sharing?

Since he took over Twitter Elon Musk has shown himself completely unable to preserve the social platform as an open and inclusive arena for information sharing and discussion. We look for alternatives.

By opening the door to trolls and embracing extremist bigots he has turned a platform that was already struggling with hate into a battlefield.

Now he has destroyed the only valuable thing left of twitter: Its extremely strong brand. We know of a lot of people who feel sick when seeing the new black and white X logo. It represents all that Musk stand for and all that has been lost during this process.

Elon Musk is a transphobe who is actively deadnaming his estranged transgender daughter. He recently declared that the term "cis" is a slur. No wonder that so many trans and queer people are moving away from twitter right now. 

The fact that some remain, though, tells us how important this platform has been for trans and gender variant people from all over the world. Some of the best trans activists, journalists, artists and scientist have shared their ideas on Twitter.

We have prepared ourselves for the fall of Twitter for quite some time now, and share transgender news and resources on these platforms:

We will continue sharing news and articles on eX-Twitter for the time being. Threads is not available in Europe and, yes, we are too old for TikTok!

As you can see, we are hedging our bets,  waiting to see what platform will become the new big arena for transgender discussions and news curation. The problem is that it takes a lot of time to build a following on any such platform, and it is very hard to track down your old followers on the new. We will do what we can, though.

Image: A team of three sculptors spent over two months creating the homage to the famous Norwegian Blue after the dead parrot was voted the nation’s favorite Monty Python sketch in a survey by the British Channel Gold in 2014. Photo by David Parry/PA.

UPDATE: Thanks to Julia for an invite to Bluesky!

August 1, 2023

Why is it so hard for a scientist like Richard Dawkins to understand the difference between sex and gender?

Richard Dawkins find it hard to grasp the difference between gender and biological sex, reducing gender identity to a matter of procreation in the process. No wonder he is loved by transphobic TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists).

Richard Dawkins is now actively helping anti-trans activists. How can such a renowned scientist end up in such a bad place?

Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and Ray Blanchard all belong to what I would call a school of traditional gender role thinking masquerading as science based facts. 

If  you go through their arguments it soon becomes clear that the statement "gender is biological sex" is simply a rephrasing of the sentence "biological sex is biological sex and biological sex," which explains nothing. But this is clearly about reproduction. Gender is reduced to sperm and eggs. They cannot grasp reality of the concept of gender as something related to, but still different from, biological sex. 

Dawkins discusses trans people with a gender critical TERF

In the video below, where Dawkins discusses transgender identities with Helen Joyce,  Dawkins find it "distinctly weird that people can simply declare that 'I am a woman, though I have a penis'". He sees this as "a strange distortion of language."

June 8, 2023

There is no cure for crossdreaming, but there are ways of integrating it into your life.

Over at r/crossdreaming a crossdreamer posted an anxious presentation of the way erotic crossdreaming (referred to as "autogynephilia" by them) had come to dominate their life. They were clearly looking for a "cure". 

It is always hard to find a good way of answering such questions about cross-gender embodiment fantasies, given that I, at least, do not think that there is a cure for crossdreaming. It is part of our nature, with roots in biology and shaped by culture and personal experiences.

There were several responses. Here is mine:

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!